Joey (Concrete Blonde song)
|Single by Concrete Blonde|
|from the album Bloodletting|
|B-side||"I Want You"|
|Concrete Blonde singles chronology|
"Joey" is the ninth track from Concrete Blonde's third and most successful album, Bloodletting. The song was released in 1990 and was written and sung by Johnette Napolitano. Napolitano mentioned in her book Rough Mix that the song was written about her relationship with Marc Moreland of the band Wall of Voodoo, who would eventually die of kidney failure following a liver transplant. The song was written in a cab on the way to a photo studio in Philadelphia; it was the last vocal recorded on the album due to Napolitano's reluctance to record the lyrics, which were hard for her to deal with.
The song became the group's biggest hit, spending four weeks atop the US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart and crossing over to pop radio, reaching number 19 on the Billboard Hot 100; it remains their only charting song on the latter listing. The song also reached number two in Australia and ended 1990 as Australia's sixteenth best-selling single. In Canada, "Joey" reached number four on the RPM Top Singles chart and was ranked number 53 on the magazine's year-end chart for 1990.
In a 2013 interview with SongFacts' Dan MacIntosh, Napolitano described the process for writing "Joey" as starting with a wordless melody, to which lyrics were eventually added. According to Napolitano, she avoided writing the lyrics to "Joey" until the last possible moment due to the difficult nature of the subject matter. In her words,
"I knew what I wanted to say, but I wasn't looking forward to saying it. So it was the last vocal that I recorded. And I remember Chris every day, "Do we have vocals to 'Joey' yet? Do we have words to 'Joey' yet?" And I'm like, "Not yet." So I literally wrote them in a cab. I knew what I was going to say, it's just a matter of like a cloud's forming and then it rains. The lines are forming in my head and they're all in my head, and I know the chorus, and I know what I'm going to say. It's just a matter of fine tuning the details and how I'm going to lug it out. And then it rains. The clouds all formed and it rained. And then it happened. And that was it. And it was just there."
The Recording Academy has described the music video for Joey as "[illustrating] this love triangle in the truest sense, spotlighting frontwoman Johnette Napolitano performing for an audience of one in a dark, dungeonesque bar. The lone member of the crowd could only be Napolitano's lovesick lover…who's only sick for the bottle of alcohol from which he can't avert his eyes."
UK CD single
Charts and certifications
- "Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde : Songwriter Interviews". February 8, 2013. Retrieved November 17, 2016.
- "The inside story of Concrete Blonde's "Joey"". GRAMMY.com. May 15, 2017. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
- Songfacts. "Joey by Concrete Blonde - Songfacts". www.songfacts.com. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
- Concrete Blonde - Joey (Official Video), retrieved May 29, 2020
- Joey (US cassette single sleeve). Concrete Blonde. I.R.S. Records. 1990. 4 JM 13803.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
- Joey (Canadian cassette single sleeve). Concrete Blonde. I.R.S. Records. 1990. IRSC 73014.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
- Joey (US CD single disc notes). Concrete Blonde. I.R.S. Records. 1990. EIRSCD 143.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
- Joey (European maxi-single disc notes). Concrete Blonde. I.R.S. Records. 1990. 24 1064 2.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
- "Australian-charts.com – Concrete Blonde – Joey". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
- "Ultratop.be – Concrete Blonde – Joey" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
- "Top RPM Singles: Issue 1327." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
- "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 47, 1990" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved June 11, 2018.
- "Dutchcharts.nl – Concrete Blonde – Joey" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
- "Concrete Blonde Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
- "Concrete Blonde Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
- "Concrete Blonde Chart History (Alternative Airplay)". Billboard. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
- "Concrete Blonde Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
- "1990 ARIA Singles Chart". ARIA. Retrieved June 12, 2020.
- "Top 100 Hit Tracks of 1990". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved February 14, 2018.